Stakeholder Community Meeting for FEMA’s Risk MAP Finger Lakes, May 13 in Auburn

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are hosting a community meeting here in Cayuga County to discuss and gather information about flood risks, floodplain management activities, and flood mitigation projects in our communities.

Risk MAP Discovery Community Meeting for Cayuga County
2:30 PM, Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Natural Resource Center, 7413 County House Road, Auburn, NY

If you know something about flooding in your community that FEMA does not know, we need to hear from you at this meeting.

This community meeting is part of a Risk MAP project to revise and update FEMA‘s activities for flood preparedness in the Finger Lakes Watershed. Risk MAP stands for “Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning” and is a nationwide FEMA initiative that includes a number of watershed-wide projects like this one. The area that FEMA is calling the Finger Lakes Watershed encompasses all of the land that eventually drains into the Seneca River, including the watersheds of individual lakes from Canandaigua Lake in the west to Onondaga Lake in the east. In Cayuga County, the watershed covers the great majority of the county, excepting only the Town of Sterling, portions of the Towns of Victory and Ira, and a small part of the Town of Summerhill.

One of the goals of this Risk MAP project is to create new digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) based on more up-to-date and accurate information of floodplains, flood flows, and flood risks in the watershed. FIRMs are used in the National Flood Insurance Program to determine which properties must have flood insurance and what insurance rates those properties will pay. FIRMs are also used as a tool for property owners and local officials to understand and prepare for flood risks in their communities. Cayuga County’s FIRMs were updated in 2007, but many of the FIRMs in the Finger Lakes have not been updated since the 1970s.

Another goal of this Risk MAP project is to identify other activities the FEMA can take on to reinforce the flood resiliency of communities in the Finger Lakes watershed. These other activities might include mitigation projects or support for planning, communication, and outreach.

Learn more about FEMA‘s Risk MAP program online at

The purpose of this community meeting is “Discovery,” that is, gathering information from individuals, communities, agencies, and organizations about flood risks, floodplain management, and mitigation projects. Particularly important will be identifying locations where the current FIRM is inaccurate or does not take into account the latest information. For example, a bridge replacement project might have improved flow and reduced flooding upstream of the bridge, but that has not been reflected in the FIRM‘s flood hazard zones. These may be areas where FEMA can conduct a detailed flood insurance study to update its predictions of flood hazard.

Before this Discovery meeting, FEMA and the DEC held a series of Pre-Discovery meetings online in March and also mailed out questionnaires to all of the Towns, Villages and Cities in the watershed. Meeting minutes and presentations from the Pre-Discovery meetings are available online at

If you plan on attending the Risk MAP Discovery Community Meeting, please confirm by email to

If you have any questions, please contact the DEC‘s Bureau of Flood Protection & Dam Safety at (518) 402-8185.


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